Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs Ponatshego Kedikilwe has announced a delay in the construction of the Lotsane and Thune dams.
While the Department of Water Affairs had last year communicated to the people of Bobirwa and Mmadinare constituencies that construction will start this year (2007), Minister Kedikilwe this week said construction will only start in January 2008.
Accounting for the delayed schedule, the minister said tenders from constructive bidders will be submitted with PPADB today (February 14, 2007), followed by an evaluation process that will take six to weight weeks, and construction supervision award in April 2007.
There after there shall be a three months design audit, four months tendering for construction process and one and a half months period of tender adjudication.
“Based on this process it is evident that the actual dam construction shall commence in January 2008 contrary to information provided by the department of Water Affairs to Mmadinare and Bobirwa constituencies, which information was reported on as second half of 2007,” Kedikilwe told parliament.
“The October date could not be achieved due to the fact that at the time of reporting it was assumed that the design audit would take two months only.
However, based on the experienced gained in the Dikgatlhong dam it has been evident that the design audit would take three months leading to November 2007. As members are aware, December is a dormant month with almost all companies closed for Christmas. Therefore this is the reason why construction works should practically commence in January 2008.”
Member of parliament for Palapye Boyce Sebetela however said the delay will adversely affect local businesses who in anticipation of the projects starting as earlier stated by the Department of Water Affairs would have gone ahead anyway to source loan facilities from banks as a way of mobilizing themselves for a windfall in such projects.
A champion of citizen economic empowerment, Sebetela implored Minister Kedikilwe to ensure that citizen companies got a stake of ancillary economic activities preceding the construction proper.